Golf cart licensing and insurance requirements in B.C.

Golf cart licensing

“My friends call me a fool for buying a license and insurance for my golf cart to operate it across the road. They don't license and insure their golf carts, and think I am wasting my money.”

Contrary to what the writer’s friends might believe, the writer is a wise person.

He is protecting himself against civil liability in case of a collision and is following the law.

A golf cart is a motor vehicle, as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act. That means in order to be on a highway, the golf cart must be licensed, insured and display number plates. If two plates are issued, one must be on the front and one on the rear.

In addition, it must weigh less than 815 kg GVW, have at least three wheels and may not have more than four occupants.

If you live in the towns of Chase or Qualicum Beach, you may be able to operate your golf cart on specific streets as part of the neighbourhood golf carts initiative. Both have been designated by regulation, but it appears only Chase has chosen to participate.

A highway is the area on either side of the roadway centre right up to the property line on both sides.

Golf carts may only be operated in a golf course parking lot or when crossing the highway from one part of a golf course to another part of the same golf course.

A golf cart may also be operated on a limited access island where the highway has a posted speed of 20 km/h or less.

If you are lucky enough to live on one of those islands, the local police may issue permits for golf cart operation along the highway and specify limitations and conditions of operation in the permits.

The golf cart must meet the equipment requirements for brakes and mufflers, must have reflectors, a horn, a rear view mirror and turn signals. If operated at night, must be equipped with one or two headlamps at the front and a tail lamp at the rear.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Investigating driving complaints made by a member of the public

Public driving complaints

"The officer wasn't even there! How can they issue a ticket to me based only on the word of the other driver?"

Police may issue a traffic ticket based on driving complaints from the public, but only after doing a proper investigation of the incident.

First of all, anyone may make a complaint about someone's driving to the police and expect to have it investigated and dealt with.

The first step in the investigation is for an officer to meet and speak personally with the complainant.

He or she would listen to the circumstances to see if there was enough information to satisfy the officer an offence had, in fact, occurred.

At minimum, the licence plate number of the offending vehicle is needed to begin the investigation of a driving complaint, but any other details that identify the vehicle and driver are welcome.

If the complainant is willing to attend court as a witness, the officer will take as detailed a written statement as they could. The statement is necessary to preserve evidence and could be used by the complainant to refresh their memory of the event if the ticket is disputed and they had to testify.

Statements are also taken from any other witnesses who were present if they can be identified.

The content of the statement, but not the identity of the witness, can also be disclosed to the accused driver if an application is made in preparation for a dispute.

The next step is to determine who the registered owner of the suspect vehicle is.

A check of the ICBC licence plate database can furnish the name and address required, along with a description of the vehicle. The officer will make sure the vehicle described in the statement matches what he or she found in the database.

The owner (of the vehicle) must identify the driver. A personal visit to the registered owner will be made. When advised that their vehicle was involved in a breach of the Motor Vehicle Act or its regulations, it is the responsibility of the owner (and any passenger in the vehicle at the time) to identify the driver.

This is one reason you must exercise care when you lend your vehicle to someone else.

"I don't know" or "I don't remember" leaves the investigator with no option other than to ticket the owner as they are responsible for the vehicle’s use, even if they were not the driver.

Generally, at this point, the investigator, now has a driver who can be interviewed. They will be cautioned about choosing to remain silent and invited them to give me an explanation if they chose to.

Most often, drivers would want to explain the incident from their point of view.The officer will take notes of what they are told if that is the case.

Occasionally, that will be the end of the conversation, if the driver exercises the right not to speak to the officer.

The officer then has to make a decision based on all the evidence gathered—if there was a clear offence and an a ticket is issued, can a trial be successfully conducted that would result in a conviction?

If so, the officer will write the driver or the registered owner a violation ticket. If not, it ’s time to conclude the investigation and move on.

Either way, the officer will advise the original complainant what happened.

In my experience, drivers did not dispute tickets resulting from driving complaints often.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

When driving, always check to see if a motorcycle is in your blindspot

Watch out for motorcycles

“I’m a reader of your articles and I wonder if you could remind everyone that there are more motorcycles on the road. We all need to check around extra carefully because bikers are more vulnerable and easy to miss.

I'm writing this to you now because riding my motorcycle (recently) on my way to work, a driver swung across three lanes of traffic —from the right to the left—without doing a proper check and I had to lock my brakes to avoid getting hit by her vehicle.”

That incident could be an example of a looked-but-didn’t-see situation. This driver was not looking specifically for a motorcycle that was there to be seen but not conspicuous among the larger vehicles surrounding it.

Instead of just glancing over your shoulder before you turn or change lanes, search your blind spots to insure that nothing is there.

Motorcycles have a shorter stopping distance than cars and trucks do. Leave more following distance if you find yourself behind a motorcycle to prevent rear ending the rider if something unexpected happens.

Gearing down means a motorcycle will slow without the brake light coming on.

Motorcyclists are considered to be vulnerable road users under new legislation and a minimum following distance of three metres will be set. Remember that when stopping behind one at traffic controls.

There is no such thing as a “fender bender” for motorcycles. Always watch carefully for them when making a left turn. Any mistakes there can be fatal for the rider.

We rely on the visual change in size of an object to judge its distance and speed. Because motorcycles are smaller, we may mistake them as being slower and further away than they really are.

If you are passing a motorcycle, do it as you would for any other vehicle. Move completely out of the lane, complete the pass and then move back.

While we are on the subject, look before you open your door when exiting the left side of a parked vehicle.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Pet peeves when it comes to drivers' behaviour

Irritants on the road

Everyone has a pet peeve related to driving, right?

I know what mine are, but I was curious about what others might say if I asked, so I did. My faithful weekly newsletter readers responded without hesitation and I want to share their thoughts with you.

The top complaint involved space margins between vehicles. Dislike of drivers who follow too closely was equalled by drivers who move in too soon after passing. Drivers who try to bulldoze others out of the way received special mention, along with those who force other drivers to make a gap for them to facilitate a lane change.

Anticipation, planning and preparing ahead of time will prevent you from finding yourself in the wrong lane at the wrong time.

A close second goes to drivers who do not signal or who do not give adequate signal time. A defensive driver always signals, even when they think no other traffic is around.

A variation on this would have pedestrians point their way to safety. Signalling drivers you wish to cross by pointing along the crosswalk may increase the possibility they will yield.

Third place is speed related, and if you grouped all the related behaviours together, this peeve should probably top the list. Between simply traveling over the speed limit and being slower traffic that fails to keep right received enough votes to come first.

Special mention was made of drivers who accelerate to the speed limit at the start of a passing lane and then slow back down again after it ends, along with inappropriate speed limits—either too high or too low.

It's now a toss up between noisy exhausts and failing to come to a full stop in the proper place. Not stopping properly is one of the behaviours I discuss in “Don't Let This Become Your Default Setting.” Bad habits can be both dangerous and hard to break.

Cyclists who don't follow any traffic rules received a vote. It will be interesting to see how the Motor Vehicle Act will be amended to reflect modern cycling considerations. That currently has enthusiastic support from municipalities, and health authorities are also lending support.

We must not forget daytime running lights. The common problems here are not being operational or not having lights on the rear of the vehicle when they are needed.

In a way, I've saved what might be the best observation for last.

One commercial driver expressed the thought many drivers fail to take the time to analyze before acting. If you are aware of what is going on around you as you drive, you may never find yourself in an unsafe situation.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Behind the Wheel articles

About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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